New Medicaid reform proposal praised by N.Y.’s county heads

Press Release
Steve Acquario

County leaders are rallying around a Medicaid reform proposal contained in the Final Recommendations of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Medicaid Redesign Team.

The proposal calls for the state to develop and put in place a plan for more sustainable Medicaid financing that phases out reliance on local taxes, such as property taxes.

“For decades, governors have talked about helping relieve property taxpayers from this burden but never accomplished the relief needed,” said NYSAC president Mary Pat Hancock.

“It is long overdue to get county property taxpayers out of the public health insurance business. State leaders promised mandate relief when they enacted a property tax cap. This is the mandate relief that county property taxpayers need.”

In 2012, Counties and the City of New York will send more than $7.3 billion to the state in weekly installments to fund Medicaid.

Most states across the country do not require county government to finance such a large share of Medicaid.

New York counties have been required to fund a local share of Medicaid since 1966, when Governor Nelson Rockefeller created the State’s Medicaid program.

Every governor since has proposed removing the local share, but none have actually implemented a law to phase out the local share.

“This is and always has been our counties’ number one Mandate Relief priority,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario, a member of the Medicaid redesign team.

“It will lead to lower property taxes and provide a much greater benefit to New Yorkers and improve the overall administration of the Medicaid program,” he said.

The Medicaid Redesign Team’s recommendation follows a recently released Citizens Budget Commission report calling for the elimination of the local share of Medicaid.